27 January 2013
Thabo Mokone, Caiphus Kgosana, Sibusiso Ngalwa and SibongakonkeShoba
Inside the ANC's war with FNB
Firstrand CEO Sizwe Nxasana desperately tried to head off a showdown withthe ANC over an advertising campaign by its subsidiary, FNB, featuring youngSouth Africans criticising the government.The Sunday Times can reveal that on Monday morning, just after the ANCYouth League issued a statement accusing FNB of "treason", Nxasana sentan SMS to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.The minister had been called "brainless" by a youngster in one of the onlineclips.In the SMS Nxasana wrote: "Good Morning Minister. I have instructed FNB toremove the video clips from their website this morning. I will investigate howand why the clips ended [up] on their website. Sincere apologies for this.Sizwe."Motshekga's spokesman, Panyaza Lesufi, confirmed that she had receivedthe SMS but declined to comment further, referring queries to the ANC.Nxasana could not be reached for comment. His office referred all queries toFNB.But Nxasana's swift apology did little to ease the anger directed at the bank.On Friday he, along with FNB executives, publicly apologised after a tensemeeting with ANC bosses at Luthuli House, the ANC's headquarters indowntown Johannesburg.Insiders said that contrite FNB executives were hauled over the coals in themeeting, held behind closed doors.The meeting was attended by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, hisdeputy Jessie Duarte, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, economictransformation head Enoch Godongwana and party spokesman JacksonMthembu.FNB was represented by Nxasana, FNB CEO Michael Jordaan, FNB public-sector banking head Danny Zandamela and the bank's chief marketing officer,Bernice Samuels.